Observations – March 5, 2013

We climbed to the top of Harp today and took the ridge to the southeast from the summit, in order to ski the second prominent gully down into Hanging Valley.  The slopes were heating up from the solar radiation, with some point releases from rocks by noonish and wet sluffy turns on the southerly slope down into the valley shortly thereafter.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHanging Valley was looking nice, but thin.

Numerous wet, loose avalanches had begun releasing by early afternoon and kept doing so until early evening.  These started in rocky areas as point releases and gained mass and momentum as they descended.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe watched this one go, triggered by an animal traversing above the rocks.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We were headed back further to check out conditions in the couloirs:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The snowpack on the apron of the wider couloir we intended to ski was thin, but not reactive to CT and ECT tests at the lowest elevation pit (ECTX, CTNx2).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATwo more snowpits, each a few hundred feet above one another, showed similar results.  However, one pit showed mixed results with a CTMQ2  and ECTP18Q2 about 6″ deep on one side of the pit.  The other side of the pit re-produced the results of the two lower pits (ECTPX, CTN).  Being otherwise assured, we continued to the top.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Here’s another look at some of the wet activity that happened.  All the wet loose avalanches seem to be starting from warmed rocks as point releases then gaining mass and momentum on the way down, often scraping the snow down to the tundra.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI noticed one wet loose that pulled out a small slab.

It looks like clouds, precip, relatively warm temps, and high winds are in the forecast.  The Front will likely be a different scene by this Saturday’s advisory.

In other, more important news, the world lost a hero to many today.  R.I.P. Hugo.